Ugly Dolls / Flickr Creative Commons

What does it mean to say that someone, or something, is ugly? For a label that gets tossed around so often, its meaning is hard to pin down. Perhaps that's because, throughout history and around the world, our notions of ugliness have shifted considerably.


A little bit of the hit PBS series "Downton Abbey" comes to Hartford later this week. 

Ugly Dolls / Flickr

What does it mean to say that someone, or something is ugly? For a label that gets tossed around so often, its meaning is hard to pin down. Perhaps that's because, throughout history and around the world, our notions of ugliness have shifted considerably.

Kelsie Bissell / WNPR

An African drummer, a hip hop artist, a traditional kora player, and Albanian artisans may not be what you expect to see during a fashion show, but organizer George Kingsley had a vision to feature more than just clothing at a multicultural fashion show at ArtSpace last month.

Gilberto Santa Rosa / Flickr Creative Commons

There are many kinds of nudism - or naturism. There are people who just like doing stuff while not wearing clothes. And there are those who believe there are hygiene benefits. And people who link nudism with various utopian movements that break down barriers among people.

And there are people who believe in de-stigmatizing the parts of the human anatomy ordinarily covered by a bathing. The way this plays out in life, therefore, is that some naturists just want the chance to live in the raw in fairly private settings.

L.L. Bean's iconic rubber and leather boots — long worn by practical and preppie New Englanders — have swung back into fashion with young people and are more popular than ever.

The recent surge in demand has the company scrambling to fill orders, upgrading its manufacturing equipment and adding a third shift at its Maine boot factories.

The European Space Agency's Rosetta mission made history this week by putting a lander on a comet. But at the same time, one of its leading scientists drew wide criticism for wearing a shirt featuring lingerie-clad women – a decision for which he apologized Friday.

People living in the United States have little to no reason to fear contracting Ebola, a deadly viral illness causing an epidemic in West Africa. Yet on Friday night, some Americans will dress up in hazmat suits akin to what health workers wear when treating an Ebola patient.

And, of course, there's even a "sexy" version.

Fashion Icon Oscar De La Renta Dies At 82

Oct 21, 2014
Updated at 9:20 a.m. ET.

Fashion designer Oscar de la Renta, who designed gowns for first ladies and for Hollywood stars died Monday at his home in Connecticut. He was 82.

A statement from de la Renta's stepdaughter and her husband, Eliza Reed Bolen and Alex Bolen, did not give a cause of death, though the designer had been treated for cancer.

The clothing retail giant Zara is apologizing and has pulled a kids' shirt from its stores after hearing complaints that it resembled the uniform worn by prisoners in Nazi concentration camps.

In a tweet, Zara said the shirt was "inspired by the sheriff's stars from the Classic Western films."

Reporting from Spain's Canary Islands, Lauren Frayer tells our Newscast unit that this isn't the first time the Spanish retailer has gotten into trouble. She filed this report:

Nardia Gayle / CPBN Learning Lab

Students at the Journalism and Media Academy in Hartford took to Pratt Street downtown recently to talk to people on the street about fashion. 

Katharine Hepburn: The Personal Wardrobe of a Star

May 2, 2014
Connecticut Historical Society, 2009.62.6

From a very young age, Katharine Hepburn was a sporting enthusiast. She relished time spent outdoors playing golf, tennis, and swimming. In her film and stage career, she did many of her own stunts; even advancing age didn’t deter her. This love of movement and comfort greatly influenced her personal style. She held fast to her own informal style even while becoming one of Hollywood’s glamorous movie starlets.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Can great television be as satisfying as great literature? On today's Nose, we'll apply that question to HBO's True Detective. 

The human body is a limited piece of real estate.

For years, tech companies raced to make the smartphone a beautiful device with soft curves and bright screens. Now, the industry is racing to make clothes that free up your hands from the phone while still connecting you to streams of digital information.

Eight months after the company he founded had a big public relations problem because too much of some women's backsides could be seen through its yoga pants, Lululemon founder Chip Wilson has put the story back in the news.

"Quite frankly, some women's bodies just actually don't work" in Lululemon's pants, Wilson said this week on Bloomberg Television's Street Smart.

"It's about the rubbing through the thighs," he added, and "how much pressure is there."

Connecticut Historical Society

“The lingerie dress is one of the most vitally important items of the summer outfit” states the April 1909 edition of Harper’s Bazaar. The popularity of lingerie dresses swept western fashion between 1900 and 1920. These dresses were thin, summer-weight dresses of thin cotton, linen, and silk. Lingerie dresses were often made up in white or very light-colored fabric and were embellished with embroidery, cutwork, lace, pin tucks, and even crochet flowers. White and light-colored slips were worn under the dresses and would show through in certain areas.

rich701/Flickr / Creative Commons

How insane does the world of sports uniforms get?

rich701 on Flickr Creative Commons

How insane does the world of sports uniforms get?

Miss USA: Working In Hartford Helped Me Win

Jun 24, 2013
Patrick Prather

Glastonbury's Erin Brady put Connecticut on an international stage recently when she was crowned Miss USA, marking the first time in more than a half century a local contestant has claimed top honor at the Miss USA pageant. But unlike a slew contestants, she didn't grow up in the pageant scene at all. 

Political Graveyard on Flickr Creative Commons

Is Martha Stewart History?

Apr 5, 2013

With over thirty books published and millions of magazines devoured by fans eager to organize their homes, prepare delicious meals, and simply be crafty, Martha Stewart has become known as the most successful modern domestic advisor in the United States.  But domestic advice of the kind Stewart doles out in her television appearances, print, and internet publications is not something new.  Domestic advisors have long had a place in America’s kitchens and homes and have been providing women with guidance on how to manage their homes and cook appropriate meals for hundreds of years. 

Chion Wolf

Today on the Nose, we're going to talk about looks. 

Mark Pazniokas/

Republican Senate candidate Linda McMahon hasn't been bashful about her efforts to attract independent voters. As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, that strategy took a new turn today. McMahon clothed some of her campaign workers in purple shirts with a message: I support Obama and McMahon November 6.

A few weeks ago, McMahon released an ad encouraging people to vote both for her and for Democratic President Barack Obama. It irked even some people in her own party. Then, last week, she released her final ad that made reference to Democratic President John F. Kennedy.

Spring at G. Fox

Mar 23, 2012

Spring has come early to Connecticut this year, with crocuses and daffodils in full bloom by the middle of March.  And what better way to celebrate the early Spring than by incorporating a little bit of nature into your wardrobe?

Hats of the 1950s and 1960s are beautiful examples of nature melded with fashion. Women threw off their heavy winter layers and donned hats trimmed with flowers and feathers as they welcomed Spring. 

Shawls, Capes, and Coats

Jan 6, 2012

Mankind has always attempted to ward off the weather with protective clothing.  Throughout history fashions have influenced the types of outerwear people used to keep themselves warm. 

Lívia Stumpf/flickr creative commons

Bruce Clements on the purpose of fashion, and why we care. Jane Stern on why animal companions matter as much as they do. And a Hot Seat interview...mystery guest and Faith has to do a spontaneous interview.

Velvet Luxury:

Dec 9, 2011

As the weather turns brisk and fall gives way to winter, we begin thinking about warm coats, cozy quilts, and cups of cocoa.  One of the most luxurious winter fabrics, velvet, is perfect for this time of year.  Although these days velvet is less popular than it once was, at one time it was a standard cold-weather commodity. 

Furniture to Fashion

Oct 29, 2011

From the Nation’s Centennial in 1876 through about 1940, increased interest in America’s colonial past produced the movement known as the Colonial Revival.  Connecticut became an early center of the movement, and examples of the style are found throughout the collections of the Connecticut Historical Society.